“May you taste the sweetness of your worship and feast upon the Barakah of your sacrifices”
For me, Eid is an opportunity to celebrate the Muslim community that shaped who I’ve grown to become. For many, the meaning changes as you grow older, leave your maternal home and begin traditions of your own. This serves as a time to come back to family and celebrate the foundational memories as a child, or revert adult.
I grew up in a Hindu home and married into a South African Muslim family. It is with this dynamic that the way we celebrated Eid varied vastly to many other families. I had to learn everything that I know today by watching those around me and from what I read online. In a way, I’m grateful for being able to create our own family traditions and perhaps approaching it from a different perspective to what I ordinarily might have grown up with.
Amongst the South African Muslim community, practices vary per region and family. Many choose to stick to tradition and have a spread of savouries, sandwiches and ‘badam milk’. Masala roast chicken, Leg of Lamb served with salad or creamy vegetable is also a very common occurrence. Popular Instagrammer ‘Treetz by Reez’ says her children look forward to the ‘treat table’ the most which has an array of various sweet treats (mitai, biscuits, homemade sweets and cakes). It’s common for women to purchase many of these items by support local home-industries
Nazly Moosa has fond memories as a child growing up in Cape Town. For Eid, they would make dainty sandwiches cut into triangles made with beef that was boiled the night before with cloves and peppercorns. On their table was pies, samoosas, a ‘big round jam and coconut tart’, ‘Eid Milk‘ and tea with condensed milk. Forward 34 years in her own home, she says all that has changed.
“We have kebaab and roti, still pies and samosas, Eid milk and masala tea and the beautiful ‘sweetmeat’ platter that I receive every year from my friend”
Eid is a time to show gratitude to our family. It is a time where families are encouraged to come together. Where children who have fasted wait to be recognised for their month-long sacrifice with gifts, sweets and sometimes monetary gifts. I grew up with memories of not only new clothes for Diwali, but a new set of sleepwear too. I just carried on this tradition with my own children too. For some reason, ‘Eid pyjamas’ just seem to feel more special than the ones we usually buy.
Aside from traditions around food, Fatimas family has an Eid gifting tradition.
“Each person picks another family member to buy a gift for and it’s always a personal gift. After breakfast in the morning, each member of the family brings forward their gift and we all unwrap or unbox our gifts and no one actually knows who the gift is from. It’s always a surprise and it’s really fun!”
Ramadaan is a time to celebrate good health and better eating. It is a time to show gratitude to the All-Mighty for being able to have the strength and resilience to practise fasting. On Eid, instead of feasting, some have progressed towards having healthier options by serving a lighter breakfast which allows them space to enjoy a heartier lunch.
My sister-in-law Fatima has always invited us over to her home for breakfast on Eid morning. This year, she opted for a 10am brunch which allowed us all some time to have a more leisurely morning. Because I have very young children who attend the Eid prayer with their father, I planned a very light breakfast for when they returned home.
Nasreen sets up a light breakfast of homemade biscuits, date and walnut cake, fruit cake, chocolate cake and sweetmeats with tea before her family leaves for the Eid salah. Once they return, they enjoy a full breakfast of Masala baby chickens with puri and Portuguese rolls. She also prepares large, round chicken pies for her family.
I find it incredibly satisfying to repurpose tableware and items like tea towels into a tablescape.
Not only do the items become reusable, they also add interest to a table.
I wanted to exclude any florals on my Eid breakfast table for a more contemporary take on traditional décor. I used 2 sets of tea towels and placed them across from each other (excluding them from the center). this functioned as placemats. A full length tablecloth was pleated and gently placed across the table more a more casual repertoire.
To complete the table, a warm cup of Eid mild dusted with saffron was placed at each setting.
The month of Ramadaan helps us get closer to our Creator. It is a time for reflection, sharing and solidarity. It all culminates to what Eid is – a bittersweet feeling between Ramadaan ending, and spending the day in communal harmony. It is a reminder for family to gather around a table and a reminder to carry forward with the good habits that we formed during Ramadaan.
Taqabbal Allahu minna wa Minkum.(May Allah accept it from us and from you)